Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced awards totaling $27.8 million to health center-controlled networks and large multisite health centers to implement EHRs and other HIT innovations. The funds are part of the $2 billion allotted to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.
Eighteen grants totaling more than $22.6 million will support EHR implementation. Grants totaling more than $2.6 million will help four grantees implement a variety of HIT innovations, including the creation of health information exchanges among different providers and the incorporation of HIT at dental delivery sites. Another five grants totaling over $2.5 million will help health centers devise plans to use existing EHRs to improve patient health outcomes.
HRSA received $2 billion through the ARRA to expand healthcare services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program. To date, more than $1.3 billion of these funds have been awarded to community-based organizations across the country. HRSA-supported health centers treated 17 million patients in 2008, 40% of whom have no health insurance.
In addition, HRSA received $500 million in ARRA workforce funds—$300 million to expand the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and another $200 million for other healthcare workforce programs. The NHSC funds will pay for student loan repayments for primary care medical, dental, and mental health clinicians who will practice for a minimum of two years in NHSC sites that treat underserved and uninsured people. Recently, awards totaling $33 million—part of the $200 million total—were announced to expand the training of healthcare professionals.
Source: Health and Human Services